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Tom discovered Agile Development in 2003 and spent the next 8 years, together with his team at, improving their process and blogging about his discoveries. He has a particular interest in the psychology of keeping Agile agile and not letting it slip back into the evil old ways! He believes a Scrummaster should also be a developer and codes ASP.NET and C# most of the time. Tom is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 42 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

It's Not About the Process

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I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable with “process”, even more with inflicting it on others. Process is a predefined way of doing something, I like to change my mind as I learn more.

Our team started with nothing: we were just told what to do, we transformed with Scrum and improved with Kanban. With these we developed our own process that, over time, evolved. Now both they, and the process we derived from them, take a back seat. We no longer give much thought to their ceremonies and steps. So why haven’t we regressed back to ad hoc ineffectiveness?

Processes provide a template for acting on the principles that underlie them.

Processes are Training Wheels

The process changed us. Acting out the process taught us how to work according to its principles. These principles have become ingrained in our mindset.

We are open and willing to share all our ideas however unsure we were. This runs deeper than a daily stand-up and a task board.

We are collaborative, working together as the need arises, not at any predefined time or place.

We test our assumptions as we make them, talking to those who really know immediately, not waiting for demos.

We decide, with the other stakeholders, what adds the most value that day. We change priorities whenever there is a need and we are all in agreement. We don’t wait for the next planning session.

We reflect continually in conversations all day. We don’t wait for the next stand-up or retrospective, most of the improvement really is continuous and emergent.

It’s Not About the Process

We use process to learn about the principles that underlie it, then throw it away.

Is there a way to learn these principles without explicit processes? Agile is about people, not process.

Published at DZone with permission of Tom Howlett, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)